God spares no expense at the announcement of Jesus’ birth. He enlists not just a heavenly quartet, or a single shimmering soloist, but the whole heavenly throng, singing together as a big, heavenly gospel choir, rocking the foundations of humanity. The angels’ message is simple and straightforward and not in the least bit clouded in celestial language or heavenly rhetoric. “Good News! The Savior is born!” with a chorus of “Glory to God” and “Peace on Earth.”
Jesus’ birth is a cataclysmic in-breaking of God’s kingdom into the earthly realm. This is a visual picture of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come.” Yet, how shocking it is when we consider that this took place in a country field for shepherds..Shepherds! One of the lowest class’s of jewish society are given front rows seats to the greatest show, the greatest ‘good news’ the heavens or earth have ever witnessed. We are reminded in all of this of the colossal contradiction of the incarnation. The king of the universe is coming…as a humble babe, to an almost divorced woman, in a dank manger, who hears the news from dirty shepherds. wha?? So comes our great shepherd.
“Gloria in Excelsis Deo” the Latin for “Glory be to God on High” may be one of the first praise chorus’s ever sung, way before Graham Kendrick ever showed up…and it was written by the angelic host. Take note.
Great article on the Angels song by Dr. Phil Ryken featured at ByFaith Online.
While Shepherds Kept Their Watch By Night (Andrew Peterson arr.)
Image: James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Angel and the Shepherds (L’ange et les bergers), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 5 9/16 x 7 9/16 in. (14.1 x 19.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum,